Reader question: I have booked a ski holiday in France for Christmas. I was wondering what the Covid protocol is for ski stations this winter? I’ll be coming from the UK
Ski stations and ski lifts are open this winter in France, unlike last year when they were closed due to the pandemic.
France’s official ski season began on November 20 this year, with stations and resorts around the country progressively opening as the snowfall increases.
The main regulations relating to Covid at for ski resorts this year are:
Masks are mandatory for everyone aged 11 and over on all ski lifts, when queueing – both inside and outside, in all sales outlets and in all places where the public gathers. Exceptions are in place for when people are alone on ski lifts
A Covid health pass is mandatory for everyone over the age of 12 years and two months. A health pass is proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid, proof of a negative Covid PCR or antigen test taken within the past 24 hours, or proof of having tested positive for Covid between 11 days and six months prior
The usual rules will apply in ski resorts for the usage of the health pass.
Fabrice Boutet, the general manager of SATA, the company that manages the ski resorts of Alpe d'Huez, Les Deux-Alpes and La Grave, said of the health pass:
“There will be a systematic check of people’s health passes at ticket offices and reception desks. When a person buys a ski pass, he or she must present the health pass. If a person buys five passes, only the person who comes to buy them will present their health pass.
He added that there will be random health pass checks on main ski lifts and on the top of ski slopes.
“There will be between an hour and an hour and a half of checks in the morning and afternoon, random checks with a trained team.
“For those who buy their ski passes online, our general conditions of sale stipulate that you need a health pass and that this health pass will be checked at random in the ski area,” he said.
While exact protocols may vary depending on the ski resort, they are likely to be similar to those put in place by SATA.
Many of the big ski resort areas in France will have places set up to offer Covid tests and some will also have nearby vaccination centres.
The health pass
The mandatory health pass rule was introduced to ski resorts after the number of daily Covid cases in France surpassed 200 per 100,000 people. It means that the health pass rule may be removed if the number of daily Covid cases in France drops below that threshold, although that is not likely to happen soon.
UK Covid vaccination certificates should have QR codes on them that are compatible with France’s health pass scanners. UK certificates can also be uploaded to the phone application TousAntiCovid.
If you choose to show your vaccination certificate in paper format, you may be asked to provide ID as well.
The validity of vaccination certificates is changing in France, with booster shots required to keep the certificates valid with the health pass system.
This will come into force for people aged 65 and over from December 15, and for all other adults from January 15.
You can read more about the changes in our article here: Key dates in France for new Covid rules this winter
Third vaccine doses will now appear on England and Wales’ NHS Covid passes, enabling British people to prove their vaccination status when travelling abroad.
It should be noted that only certain masks will be accepted. These include surgical masks or category 1 fabric masks (those that filter more than 90% of particles, including FFP2 masks).
See our guide to facemasks in France here: What facemask should I wear?
It is also possible to wear special two-in-one neck warmers and facemasks that have been approved for filtering 90% of particles. These are called tours de cou in French.
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